Random Moments in a May Garden
by James Saunders

James Saunders - Random Moments in a May Garden

Broadcast: Sunday 20th January 1974

A middle-aged couple have bought a country cottage and are given the remains of an old photograph by the Surveyor who found it under the lining paper inside of one of the cupboards. It was a piece of Victorian family portrait which now only shows two little girls, photographed in a garden. We learn what they were doing there; "Random Moments in a May Garden" is two stories occurring in parallel in the same house, and cutting between the two.

The play is an elegant domestic study set within the deceptively simple framework of a middle-aged married couple giving a small dinner-party for their friends before their move. In the background, hauntingly, is an old photograph of another family group taken in a May garden, raising the question of transience versus permanence. The play also subtly explores Sophie's doubts on the degree of her own fulfilment.

James Saunders's haunting radio play was subsequently performed both on the stage on 9th June 1977 at the Questors Theatre, Ealing (London, England) and on television on 22nd May 1981 on BBC2 Playhouse.

With Barbara Jefford [Sophie], Peter Jeffrey [David, Sophie's Husband], Julie Hallam [Anne], Helen Worth [Katie], Anthony Hall [The Photographer], Vernon Joyner [The Surveyor], Denys Hawthorne [Digby], Elizabeth Morgan [Ann], Hugh Dickson [Mark], and Ellen Sheean [Katherine].

Produced by Richard Wortley

Re- broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday 11th August 1979 and Saturday 10th August 1985. It was also re-broadcast on BBC World Service: Play of the Week on Sunday 14th March 1982.

60 min.


Beautiful to listen to, a meditation on growing up and the loss of hope, written in a kind of poetic naturalism . . . and acted with feeling and with clarity. (The Times)

"Should have been entered for the Prix Italia but wasn't." (Richard Wortley)


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